First look: Sony Ericsson S500i

It's interesting to see Sony Ericsson full concentrate on the more fashion orientated side of the market. After bombarding us with Walkman and Cyber-shot phones it's resurrected its T-Series and now the new S-Series to showcase its designer-side. Mobile Choice has just made acquaintances with the mid-range S500i slider and although it's early days, we have to admit we're a tad underwhelmed by the phone.

The S500i arrives in two nature inspired finishes: Spring Yellow and Mysterious Green. Our sample came in the latter although it's predominately black and you don't enjoy the green effect until you slide it open. The keypad and back of the front fascia show off a fetching emerald green veneer and this does enhance an otherwise lacklustre design. The S500i is also a little glow worm with the middle of the joypad and two side bars pulsing and radiating when you open up the phone. It's mildly diverting but nothing more.

Handle the phone and it feels lightweight and slinky (it measures 14mm thick) but its trim figure is let down by a creaky plasticky build. If you didn't know its feature set you could mistaken it for a more entry level phone. The spring-loaded slider mechanism claws back some dignity and is pretty slick and responsive.

Themes seem to be an important aspect of the S500i. There are three major settings: Clarity is your original flavoured Sony Ericsson look and feel, at the moment Everchanging is a dark forest theme but we think It's going to change (hence the name) as times goes on so we'll keep you posted, while Day and Night uses a carousel menu system instead of the grid. Also the last two themes send out a vibrating pulse in the main menu every time you select a sub section. We couldn't find a way to turn this off, so if it annoys you then you're going to have to activate the non-vibrating Clarity theme.

Elsewhere the S500i is pretty lucid to use and navigate around although the keypad feels a little cramped and may not sit well with those of you carrying fat fingers. So mixed impressions early doors and we're now going to pop out and test its two-megapixel camera to see if it improves the S500i chances.

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Written by Mobile Choice
Mobile Choice

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